Analogies usually limp, but they are still helpful

I saw today sometime, I don’t recall where exactly for it has been busy day, that Joseph Ratzinger referred to the Church’s care of her sacred liturgical worship as like to tending a garden.

I like the analogy.  We prepare the soil and provide water and nourishing fertilizer. We weed and trim and prune.  We make sure that plants that need light are in the sun and those which are more delicate get less.  We know that some plants grown well next to others.  Occasionally we graft.  We can be gardeners, but only God makes things grow.   So, while imperfect, I like the analogy.

A “gardening” aspect that I enjoyed for a long time was the tending of bonsai trees.  These little trees came to mind today, with that gardening analogy.

The care bonsai trees is a good way of thinking about how Holy Church took care of the organic growth of her worship.   They can be carefully and patiently guided into pleasing shapes.  They need attention and prudent pruning at the right moments.  At times the pruning seems harsh, but it is always for the good of the tree, not its destruction.

Here is a nice little video that shows some trimming of a bonsai.  It’s just a couple of minutes. Think, as you are watching, of how the Roman liturgy developed from the time before St. Gregory the Great (+ 604) and until the 20th century.

Now that you have watched that, here is a video that gives us something of the attitude of Traditionis custodes.

Such progress!  We are now techno-masters of our worship.

Another thing.  The care and enjoyment of bonsai trees doesn’t make a lot of noise and it is is pretty well established insofar as what you need for it: simple tools, some patient techniques that take time and practice to master.

The tree harvesting, on the other hand, makes a real racket and also violates Laudato si in about a thousand ways.   You just need brute force and a big truck to haul away the haul after cutting a big swath through the woods.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Lighter fare and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Toan says:

    This made me think…discarding the TLM just reeks of “throwaway culture”.

  2. Jones says:

    What a nice post Fr. Z. I sent it to my husband. He likes Bonsai trees as well. You are absolutely right. What is you state in life?There are so many quiet things that can be done to strengthen ones faith. Eucharistic adoration is still available, praying the rosary is readily available. There is holy water to bless yourself with. There is still the Tabernacle that contains Jesus where you can sit and contemplate him in the stillness of the church. We still have access to the internet. There are a plethora of good books, prayers, sermons, audiobooks, videos that can be watched, listened to and read. It’s summertime in the states and just being outside enjoying God’s creation can rejuvenate your faith. It’s business as usual in this household. I have a Vulgate/English Bible that I need to read through and a Spirago catechism I need to study. God is good.

  3. Grabski says:

    As with the Biden regime, we are under siege

    But, for an analogy, consider we are at Valley Forge. A long dispiriting harsh winter has descended

    But we persevere, vigorously,

  4. Grant M says:

    So… Pope Francis is a lumberjack and he’s not OK.

    (That’s the second time I’ve referenced Michael Palin on this blog within one week.)

  5. KateD says:

    It IS a good analogy:)

    Patience is the order of the day.

    And we are not a small bonsai, we are a deeply rooted mighty bamboo FORREST.

    We do not break when an adverse wind blows, chop one of us down and you have caused more shoots to spring up.

    Pruning aids growth.


Comments are closed.